Questions Of National Identity


 

Today I’m beyond pleased to introduce a new, fabulous and truly beautiful voice to the unique choir that is the Kisses & Chaos guest blogger family, writer Nickie Shobeiry.  Please welcome her with our usual blend of weirdness and love as she dives gracefully into a deep topic and discusses her…

 
 

QUESTIONS OF NATIONAL IDENTITY

BY NICKIE SHOBEIRY

Questions Of National Identity


 
 

My name is Nickie. It was supposed to be ‘Nicu’ (Nick-oo) until my Iranian parents decided that actually, it would be kinder to give me a European-sounding name that, according to one nurse, didn’t resemble the word ‘cow’ in Danish.  Of course, this made no difference to certain relatives.  ‘Nicu’ now exists as my Iranian alter-ego – always sipping black tea with one sugar cube in her mouth, always shaking her hips to the dombak, always confident in the number of cheek-kisses she’s giving.

 

GROWING UP IN DENMARK AND ENGLAND, I WASN’T AROUND OTHER IRANIANS OFTEN.

 

When we’re kids, being different can feel like a death sentence – and rightfully so, should we recall our tree-swinging ancestors.  Of course, evolutionary history is irrelevant when you’re eight, and for me, this meant I rejected everything from the food in my lunchbox to my dark curls and “weird” nose.   Come age fourteen, natural angst had mixed with questions of nationality and belonging, making every innocent “Where are you from?” an excuse for an existential melt-down. In a bid to simplify what I felt was too messy, I cut Denmark from the story.

 
 

THUS BEGAN THE ELIMINATION PROCESS.

Questions Of National Identity


 
 

If I certainly wasn’t Danish, but wasn’t exactly English either, then surely I had to be Iranian.  But what if I didn’t want to be Iranian?  And what sort of hybrid was I around ‘real’ Iranians – the tea-sipping, dombak-loving, cheek-kissing kind?  At family gatherings, I took to hiding behind my wonderful cousin.  After all, she was the one who had grown up surrounded by these people, beautifully charming her way through any conversation, both our funny accents be damned.

In his work ‘The Black Atlantic’, Professor Paul Gilroy discusses the Atlantic slave trade, and how those that lived through it were faced with a ‘double consciousness’. No longer a part of their native land (in this case, Africa), they were not fully a part of the new land, either (in this case, America). Gilroy goes on to talk about how this population was determined not only by their ‘roots’, but also by the ‘routes’ they traveled, and how this transcended previous notions of nationality.

 
 

Questions Of National Identity


 
 

Sitting on a terrace one night with my father and another cousin (big families, whatcha gonna do?), I told them about this.  I then asked them both whether they felt they were Iranian.

My father leaned forward, half-eaten peach in his hand.  “I grew up there,” he began.  “My face, my skin, my language – how could I not be Iranian?”

“I’m not Iranian,” my cousin replied, leaning back in his chair.  “I left the country years ago. I don’t live like they do anymore.”

 

MODERNIST THINKERS – THE FLOOR’S YOURS.

 

Undoubtedly, when a large population of a country leaves (such as with Iran, after the revolution), their existence differs to those left behind.  Aspects of the new culture weave into the old – a process often sped up when kids are involved.  This new found space can be difficult to label, and as Gilroy says, nationality is questioned, and a ‘double consciousness’ is formed.  Depending on how we see it, identity becomes a little more confusing – or a little more fluid.

 
 

Questions Of National Identity


 
 

Of course, we’ve all experienced uncertainty about who we are. Chances are we’ve all found ourselves standing naked in front of a mirror, holding up various opinions and beliefs, trying to find one that fits.  Iran, Denmark and England lent themselves to me as literal symbols of this struggle – but pull down the zip, and you’ll see the same concept.

Here’s an example: earlier this summer, I had a particularly difficult, life-changing conversation – the kind where all you thought you knew about yourself is blown apart.  Walking up my parent’s driveway after all had been said, I was met with high-on-life Middle Eastern music.  A profound peace washed over me, and I realised it’s perfectly alright (and most likely advised) to carry only the parts of the whole that resonate with you – to make your own whole.  I realised there was no shame or ‘messiness’ in this.  Within the same month, I traveled back to Denmark to welcome it all back in.

 
 

AS WE GROW OLDER WE BEGIN TO CELEBRATE OUR DIFFERENCES.

Questions Of National Identity


 
 

We begin to like our curls and our noses and, if our mothers happen to pack us a lunch, we’re damn thrilled with our feta cheese and jam.  We begin to understand both our roots and our routes, and see the beautiful fluidity that carries us between both.  Our need to measure our entire being against the rulers of culture, country or family disappear, and we’re left with something much more understandable – that which we truly are.

 
 
Questions Of National Identity

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Nickie Shobeiry is a freelance writer living in sleepy old Devon, England. She writes for an Exeter art gallery here, and can be found lurking in other parts of the internet, writing about art and culture.

 
 
 
 

A QUICK LITTLE NOTE FROM ME (ALLI):

Today through July 3 (at 11:59 pm) I’m running a special extra-long Tarot Tuesday Sale/Fundraiser on each and every single one of my tarot readings.

 

Randall-Shreve-fundraising-tarot-sale


 

All Simplicity Single Card and Three Card Tarot Readings and Subscriptions are 12% off and all Year At A Glance and Super-Duper In-Depth Yearly Tarot Readings are 15% off.  Just enter code TAROTTUESDAY at checkout to get your discount.

 

**  PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO THE TIME EACH READING TAKES, SPACES ARE EXTREMELY LIMITED SO GET YOURS WHILE THE GETTIN’ IS GOOD.  **

 

75% of all Simplicity Single Card and Three Card Tarot Readings and Subscriptions and 50% of all Year At A Glance and Super-Duper In-Depth Yearly Tarot Readings will be donated to help with the production/release of Randall Shreve’s new album, The Devil And The End.

You may recall I mentioned his music and his fundraising campaign in my birthday/Mischa post last week.  There is less than one week left to help him raise the funds to make this album a reality.  As a supporter of my fellow local artists, I’m hoping I/we can help (at least a little bit) bring this amazing album to life.  If you aren’t interested in a tarot reading and would rather donate (any amount, be it $1 or $1000) directly to the campaign (he’s offering some amazing perks), you can do so here.

I look forward to reading your cards for you and thank you all for your love and support.  XoX.

 
 

Intuitive Kisses & Art Lovin’ Chaos,
Alli Woods Frederick

 
 

IMAGES ©  ::  SOURCE UNKNOWN  ::  COLORS OF DENMARK – CHRISTINA FREDERIKSON  ::  WONDERFUL COPENHAGEN – NESNETSIRHC  ::  LET’S HAVE SOME TEA – FARROKHI  ::  IRAN, TEHRAN – MOHAMMADALI  ::  BOY PLAYS WITH BICYCLE WHEEL IN IRAN – UNITED NATIONS PHOTO  ::

 

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My Tiny Birthday Wish

 
 

MY TINY BIRTHDAY WISH:
MISCHA & MUSIC

 
 

Where, oh where to begin.  I guess let’s start with a quick update about Mischa since the second bit of news sort of almost circles back to him, so that makes the most sense…well…as much sense as I ever make. Hehehe.  Okay…so…please read this whole thing…I know it’s a little longer than usual, but it’s really important to me in a huge way.  Please and thank you. *smooches*  Okay…so…

 
 

MISCHA’S MAJOR (AND ALMOST FATAL) HEALTH SCARE

My Tiny Birthday Wish

 
 

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you are likely unaware that Mischa’s health took a dramatic turn for the worse over the weekend.  It was a close one…and I mean really close…and it’s not over yet.  There’s still a big question mark looming.

He started acting funny Friday night and, to cut a very long story short by Monday morning he had gone from 9.5 pounds to 6.5.  He had stopped eating, was barely drinking and was not doing well, even though he was trying his best to put on a brave face.

Naturally we went to the vet first thing Monday morning.

The vet ran tests and found that Mischa’s kidneys were in a rapid decline and his blood panel was not good at all.  He suggested hospitalization, but I know my Mischa and he would have passed in the night if he’d stayed there.  So I decided that instead of IV treatments, catheters and the like, we would go a less aggressive route – administering subcutaneous fluids with additional vitamins and giving him TLC at home.

That was Monday morning.

 
 

My Tiny Birthday Wish


 
 

A few hours later and he had perked up and was eating like a horse.  He did well Monday.  Tuesday I took him back to the vet for more fluids.  He seemed stable until last night when he became violently ill and dehydrated once again.  Today he’s not feeling well, but he’s still eating more than he was.

In short, the outcome is up in the air.  I would like to be optimistic, but the reality of the situation is that if he doesn’t stabilize and turn things around soon, then this is it – the torturous, heartbreaking walk towards the end.

 

ONLY TIME WILL TELL…AND IT WILL TELL SOONER RATHER THAN LATER.

 

Thank you to all of you who sent him prayers, love, good vibes, and other bits of positive energy.  We both appreciate you and I will, of course, keep you updated on any important changes.  Which brings us to the second bit of news:

 
 

JUNE 25TH IS MY BIRTHDAY!!!

My Tiny Birthday Wish


 
 

I rarely do much to celebrate my birthday and tend to keep things quiet.  I rarely even tell people it’s my birthday (apart from friends and family) until after the fact and this year will likely be more of the same but with one small exception:

 

THIS YEAR I WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW BECAUSE THIS YEAR I’M ASKING FOR A TINY LITTLE BIRTHDAY PRESENT FROM YOU.

 

A very itty bitty, tiny little present from you if you either:  like me at least a tiny bit, love Mischa (which is most of us, let’s be honest) or like to support incredible music by amazing musicians (which is almost anyone everywhere).

 

MY BIRTHDAY REQUEST:

I’M ASKING, WITH AS MANY CHERRY-ON-TOP PRETTY PLEASES AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE, THAT YOU PLEASE DONATE $5 TO HELP LAUNCH RANDALL SHREVE’S NEW (AND COMPELTELY AMAZING) ALBUM ‘THE DEVIL AND THE END.’


 
 

WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MISCHA?

 

I think it would be the sweetest thing ever (or possibly the weirdest thing ever…I’m not really sure what’s sweet and what’s weird anymore – to me they’re often the same) if your $5 donation was made in Mischa’s name (Mischa Frederick).

Naturally if you want to donate more or want the credit for yourself, that’s above and beyond fine…this is about supporting a talented artist; an artist whose work I believe in with all my heart, who I want to support and who I want to see succeed (not to mention introducing you to some amazing new music).

So if you want to donate and stick your name on it, go for it!

It honestly doesn’t matter if you donate $5 or $50 or whose name is on the donation.  Credit Bugs Bunny for all I care.  The truly important thing is that this album gets the love, attention and the proper release it deserves as a work of art.  The whole Mischa thing?  I just thought it would be cute and sweet for there to be some small donations made in my little furbaby’s name…especially with all things considered. He’s been my best friend and angel on more than one occasion for 16 years and I want him to be remembered so I thought this would be a nice way to honor him while supporting a fellow artist who I admire and believe in.

But right now I’m sure you’re asking:

 
 

‘WHO THE HELL IS RANDALL SHREVE AND WHY SHOULD I GIVE HIM ANY MONEY?’


 
 

Well, just in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a shiny, bright new picture up at the top of my sidebar.  All that stuff over there on the right side of your screen?  That’s my sidebar and it’s where my sponsors, affiliates, links to other articles, my manifesto and other bits and bobs hang out to help you find your way to cool stuff here and other places on the interweb.

So if you scroll back up and look to your right…just down a little from that smiling picture of me at the tip top…right there on the right you’ll see him.  That’s Randall Shreve.

Now I’m going to wax poetic for a bit, so bear with me:

 

It’s no secret I love music (good music, that is) and that I’m a big supporter of the arts and artists (and not just because I am one).

 
 

I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT CULTURES ARE ULTIMATELY DEFINED BY THE ART THEY CREATE.

 
 

Seriously.  The wars and bloodshed may make the headlines but it’s truly the art that defines the heart of any civilization (save a few exceptions such as Sparta and other true warrior cultures).

Really stop and think about how many great warriors throughout history you can name and how many great artists or artistic movements you can list.  Feel free to grab pen and paper and give it a try if you’re so inclined.

Even if you know jack about art, your artist list will probably be longer than your warrior list.  And megalomaniacs, sociopaths and psychopaths don’t count as warriors so take anyone who committed genocide or was a tyrannical ruler off your list.  (Bye, Hitler!  See ya, Stalin!)

 

ART CROSSES CULTURAL BOUNDARIES AND STRADDLES TIME, CONNECTING THE PAST AND PRESENT LIKE NOTHING ELSE MANKIND HAS EVER CREATED – SHARING THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS, DOCUMENTING LIFE AND THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE IN A WAY THAT IS TRULY TRANSCENDENT.

 

And music?  Music may be the most effective medium of all mediums at this singular, unique way of uniting people around the world and throughout time.

 
 

ENTER RANDALL SHREVE.


 
 

Randall’s music is more than mere music and his shows are more than mere shows.  Just ask any of his adoring fans who affectionately refer to themselves as “Sideshow Freaks” (based on his former band’s name, Randall Shreve and The Sideshow).  They’ll be glad to share their personal stories with you.

His music and his performances are experiences.  Randall has the ability to transport and transform the listener…creating a universe entirely of his own making.  To paraphrase his song “Welcome To The Show” he shows you what he wants you to see…and what he wants you to see (and hear) is pretty f*cking awesome.

Wordsmith, songwriter, multi-instrument musician, singer – he is a truly unique artist in a world that is in woefully short supply of his ilk.  Give him one listen and I promise you’ll want to hear more…and by making a donation, even a $5 donation, you can make that happen.

‘The Devil and The End’ is the fourth and final album in a series of concept albums which, when combined, tell an elaborate story…and one which deserves an amazing finale.  And we can make sure that happens.  Not to get all Sarah McLaughlin or Sally Struthers on your ass, but for $5, the cost of one cup of coffee at Starbucks, you can help create art.

Here’s Randall explaining in his own words:

 
 


 
 

You can read the complete details about the album, its history, a breakdown of how the funds are used to launch the album as well as find out about the amazing perks you get when you donate to this worthy cause by visiting Randall’s campaign page at Indiegogo.  The fundraising campaign ends on July 7th, 2015, so let’s send as much love his way while we can and help make his album’s launch amazing.

If you want to know more about Randall’s album check out his interview in Deitra Magazine or give a listen to a live acoustic version of one of his new songs, “Evil,” recorded during a recent radio interview.

 
 


 
 

I really hope you’ll decide to make a donation (and feel free to spread the word to friends and family).  If you don’t want to donate because you don’t give two shits about my birthday or Mischa (which is perfectly fine – I still love you…even and most especially if you don’t love me because I’m evil like that… *wink* …although I’d be baffled by someone not loving Mischa…I mean, wtf? Seriously? ) then I hope you’ll do it for art or because his music has rocked your socks.

I hope you’ll go give Randall a listen on Pandora or swing by his site or watch some of his live shows on YouTube and you’ll agree that his contribution to the story our culture is telling is priceless and that $5 will be the absolute best investment you’ve ever made.

 

WHO SAYS YOU HAVE TO BE RICH TO BE A PATRON OF THE ARTS?

 

And those (along with Mischa’s improved health) are my birthday wishes.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my twisted little art and cat loving heart for your continued love and support. I love you all to bits.

 
 

Birthday Kisses & Artistic Chaos,
Alli Woods Frederick

 
 

IMAGES  ©  ::  SOURCE UNKNOWN  ::  ALLI WOODS FREDERICK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  ::  RANDALL SHREVE.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  ::

 

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Your Best Is Not Good Enough

I HAVE A FEELING I’M ABOUT TO PUSH SOME BUTTONS AND PROBABLY HAVE SOME SERIOUS SHADE THROWN MY WAY, BUT I FEEL LIKE THIS NEEDS SAYING BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE IS SAYING IT.  BUT BEFORE YOU GET YOUR KNICKERS IN A KNOT AND THINK I’M BEING AN ASSHOLE, PLEASE FINISH READING THE WHOLE POST.  IT’S NOT AS NEGATIVE AND AWFUL AS YOU THINK.  SO HERE WE GO.  LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL…

 

Almost every feel-good lifestyle blogger, instagram yogi, and life coach tells us that we are good enough; that our best is good enough; that we’re perfect just the way we are.  They practically cram it down our throats…constantly.

And as lovely and wonderful (and insanely tempting) as it is to believe that we all shit magical glitter rainbows that smell like peaches and cream, all those platitudes they’re choking us with? They’re lies…well…maybe not lies, but let’s just say they’re not the whole truth.

 
 

THE TRUTH IS YOUR BEST IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH, DESPITE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN TOLD.

Your Best Is Not Good Enough


 
 

If your best was always good enough then you would always come out on top.  We all would every time we did our best.  If giving 100% was really all it took then that job would have been yours, hands down.  If your best was good enough then you’d have that promotion.  If your best was good enough then business would be booming.  If your best was good enough then he/she would love you back.

If your best was truly good enough then everything in your life would fall into place as long as you always did your best.  But guess what?  That doesn’t happen.  To anyone.  Ever.  Despite outward appearances to the contrary.  You know why?

 
 

BECAUSE YOUR BEST ISN’T ALWAYS GOOD ENOUGH.

Your Best Is Not Good Enough


 
 

Bam.  There it is.  And that is the truth.  Telling you that you and your best are ALWAYS good enough is a lie.

If giving your best was good enough and everyone on earth was doing their best all the time then tell me what then?

 

WHAT THE F*CK WOULD HAPPEN THEN?

 

Despite what suburban little league teams and all the members of the sisterhood of the traveling woo-woo would have you believe, you don’t get a trophy for just showing up and trying in life and not everyone is a winner.  It would be utter chaos if that were the case.

Every job applicant that did their best would get the job…the same job…that they all applied for.  Every guy would get the girl…even if they all wanted the same girl.  You see what would go down?  It wouldn’t be Utopia, it would be Hell.  It would be chaos.  It would be anarchy (and I don’t mean the good kind).

 
 

anarchy-in-the-uk-cartoon


 
 

SOMETIMES YOUR BEST JUST ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH AND THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT GOES…

 

…and it sucks ass.  No matter how hard you try, no matter how good you are, sometimes you don’t get the job; you don’t get the promotion; you don’t get the dream; you don’t get the love.

Some of you will argue it’s the law of attraction and some of you will argue it’s fate or God or whoever, saying:

 

“Things work out the way they’re supposed to.  They always work out for the best.”

 

Oh, god bless platitudes and those who are able to find comfort in them (I often wish I were one – life would be  much easier).  But things don’t always work out for the best.  Don’t believe me?  Ask anyone who ever committed suicide EVER.  Or ask a starving child with intestinal parasites in a third world country.  I’m pretty sure they would disagree on the whole “things working out for the best” bit…too bad they didn’t try their best.

For some, things do work out for the best.  For many, many, many on this earth they do not…not by a long shot.

 
 

SOMETIMES SHIT JUST SUCKS.

 

It just sucks.  And sometimes things don’t work out…

…but sometimes they do.

Trying your best isn’t a guarantee.  I’m living proof.  I always do my best, be it in my art or in my personal life (and my best is, admittedly, sometimes not so hot – comparatively –  no matter how hard I try because I can only work with what I’ve got and sometimes I’m hanging by a thread so what I’ve got…well it isn’t a helluva lot).  But I put my heart and soul into everything (and I have heart and soul out the ass (that’s a pretty picture) which is probably why lots of people find me difficult – I’m highly emotional and can be a bit intense where my passions are concerned).  I do my absolute best and very, very, very few things in my life work out in my favor – not when it comes to business, not when it comes to dreams, not when it comes to love.  That’s life.  Sometimes shit just sucks.

 
 

AND SOMETIMES IT DOESN’T.

texas-2015-nicholas-scarpinato


 
 

Sometimes great things just fall in your lap and sometimes doing your best has absolutely f*ck all to do with it (and sometimes it does).  When the great things happen (for whatever reason), cherish them.  Cherish every single second.  I mean it.  Hold them close to your heart and soak them in.  Absorb every sensation, every scent, every sound.  Commit them to memory.  Soak them in.  Make them an intrinsic part of you so you never forget.  Don’t take them for granted.  You never know how long they’ll last.

 
 

LIFE CHANGES IN A HEARTBEAT.

Your Best Is Not Good Enough


 
 

One moment life is filled with more bliss and wonder and beauty than you’ve ever known and you’re so happy you can hardly contain it.  The next you’re Alice in free fall down the rabbit hole from hell.  (Damn white rabbits.)  Joy dissolves because life happens and you plummet.

And so you try your best because that’s what you’re told to do and that it is good enough…and sometimes it’s not and sometimes it is.

 
 

SO WHAT’S MY POINT?

truth-seeker-angel-bellinger


 
 

Should you always do your best?  Abso-f*cking-lutely.  You may fail but at least  you failed giving it everything you have instead of doing it half-assed.  Half-assed is nothing to proud of.

Is your best always good enough?  Hell no.  But that’s life.  And when life is being life-y you have a choice:

You can give up, because…well…f*ck it.  You tried your best and it wasn’t good enough.  You can give up and move on (or wallow…wallowing is always an equally valid and sometimes cathartic though less productive, option).

That’s one choice.

The other choice?

You can try again and still try your best and keep trying your best because some things are worth it.  Some things mean too much to just let them dissolve and for you to pull a Tom Petty and start free fallin’.

 

THE DECISION IS YOURS.

 

Just don’t drink the Kool-Aid anymore.  Don’t listen to the lie that showing up and doing your best is all that you need to do.  Stop buying the bullshit.  Take a look around and you’ll see the truth is there looking right back at you.  The decision is yours.

 
 

WILL YOU MOVE ON OR WILL YOU KEEP TRYING?

untitled-chrissie-white


 
 

Me?  I appreciate the good things when they make an appearance.  I cherish every second, soak it in and if it’s one of those incredibly rare once in a lifetime things, I let it become part of every cell where it can live forever so I can visit it whenever I like.

I give it my 100% absolute, no holds barred best and if it looks like my best isn’t going to be good enough then I try harder and fight like a mother f*cker with all my heart and soul…with love and hope (and crying…there’s usually crying in there somewhere because trying and love and hope are really hard sometimes).

 
 

Untitled-2-chrissie-white


 
 

If something is once in a lifetime and more important than I can even begin to imagine because I’ve never had something that important to imagine before…then I keep giving my best and when my best isn’t good enough I try and do better.  So I keep hoping and trying my best, even when my best isn’t good enough…and many times it isn’t…but I still keep hoping and trying.

But the other stuff?  Screw it.  If I try my best and it’s not good enough, screw it…because some other time in some other way, my best will be good enough…and so will yours…but not always.  Not always.

 

So what about you?  What will you do, what do you do, when your best isn’t good enough?

 
 

Cherish The Kisses & Screw The Chaos,
Alli Woods Frederick

 
 

IMAGES ©  ::  PORTRAIT OF A QUIET GIRL 1/14  :|:  PORTRAIT OF A GIRL 4/14  :|:  PORTRAIT OF A QUIET GIRL 7/14 – CHRISSIE WHITE  ::  CARTOONIST UNKNOWN (BUT IS AN UNDENIABLE GENIUS)  ::  :: TEXAS 2015 – NICHOLAS SCARPINATO ::  PORTRAIT OF A QUIET GIRL 5/14 – CHRISSIE WHITE ::  TRUTH SEEKER – AMY BALLINGER  ::  UNTITLED  :|:  UNTITLED – CHRISSIE WHITE  ::

 

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my Dead Roommate Robert

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO MISSED PART I OF MY TRUE TALE OF MY FAVORITE DEAD ROOMMATE (SO FAR), ROBERT, YOU CAN CATCH UP ON IT HERE.  TRUST ME.  THIS WON’T MAKE MUCH SENSE IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE FIRST HALF OF THE STORY, SO POP OVER AND HAVE  A QUICK READ.  THEN YOU CAN POP BACK HERE AND JOIN US IN MY RECOUNTING OF THE BEST ROOMMATE EVER (ASIDE FROM MY MISCHA, OF COURSE).

 
 

MY DEAD ROOMMATE ROBERT: PART II

 
 

Now then…where were we.  Ah yes…information coming to light and all that incorporeal jazz.  So let’s just dive right back into the ether of the Otherside, shall we?  (Answer:  Yes, we shall.)

 
 

my Dead Roommate Robert

Throughout my relationship with Herman* I always had a nagging feeling he was sticking his dirty little dangle where it didn’t belong, even while we were on the road together.  Of course, anytime I would ask a question I was met with the same response as when I first told him about our ghost:  “You’re f’ing crazy, bitch.”  (Did I ever mention he was charming?  No?  There’s a reason for that.)

 

THERE IS A POINT TO AIRING THIS DIRTY LAUNDRY, SO BEAR WITH ME.  I SWEAR IT’S RELEVANT.

 

Herman’s behavior became more suspicious until one day one of my best friends came by to inform me she had been sleeping with him…and so had many, many others.  As I pulled the knife out of my back, I rattled off a list of names of girls I had long suspected he’d been with and she confirmed them all.

 
 

my Dead Roommate Robert

 
 

She and I parted ways (we’re on good terms now and all has been forgiven) and I turned my attention to the womanizer living under my roof to try to patch things up…because I’m infinitely forgiving…and infinitely stupid.  And so we tried.  And things seemed to be improving.

Our as yet unnamed invisible-ish roommate still made his presence known but the oppressive and sometimes inappropriate staring, had ceased.  He was content to just kick it and hang out, watch the X-Files with me and stay pretty quiet.

 

LIFE KEPT CHUGGING ALONG.

 

Shortly after the dirty dick debacle, the three bedroom duplex directly next door became available to rent.  We needed the extra space in a big way and the rent was actually cheaper than the two bedroom we were in (score!) so naturally we jumped on it immediately.

While Herman was off doing Herman things (whatever those were…I still have no idea), I moved all our possessions (furniture included) by myself…with the flu (because I’m hardcore…and he was…Herman) into our new home.  I said farewell to my ghostly roommate and settled in to my new home, but it wasn’t long before strange things began to happen in the new house…ghostly things.

 
 

SURELY HE DIDN’T FOLLOW US NEXT DOOR.

my Dead Roommate Robert


 
 

Ghosts aren’t prone to roaming about, let alone following people from place to place.  I had heard at the time that ghosts can become attached to individuals but it’s rare.  Very rare.  The probability of him following us was slim to nil…but weren’t the odds of us moving from one haunted house into one directly next door that was also haunted impossibly slim?

 

WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON?

 

It started as before.  The sensation of not being alone (but without the severe paranoia).  The sensation was soon followed by a new event – a man’s voice…when there were no men in the house.

The first time it happened it scared the crap out of me.  I was alone, once again in the bathroom, getting ready for work one afternoon (which was now at a tattoo shop, which meant much more reasonable hours – no more up before the sun to get to work, thank god).

I had just finished rinsing my latest shade of Manic Panic out of my hair (it was purple if I recall correctly) and was setting about styling it when just behind my right shoulder, directly in my right ear I heard a man’s voice, clear as a bell, jokingly say “Freak.”

 
 

I JUMPED OUT OF MY SKIN.

my Dead Roommate Robert


 
 

I was looking in the mirror when it happened and knew full well there was no one standing behind me, but I turned around and looked anyway, jaw dragging on the floor behind me as I spun around and confirmed I was completely alone.  Unless my dog, Lakota or Mischa The Wondercat™ had learned to speak English, there was no living man in that house to utter those words.

I began to hear a man’s voice softly murmuring at various times:  while I listened to Morphine and painted late into the nights; when I was watching a movie; when I was reading…you get the idea.

It didn’t happen to Herman or our new (living) roommate, a fellow former rennie named Grizelda*.  It was only me.  Only when I was alone.  Despite my past experiences in the other house I began to question my sanity.  Our old deceased roommate had never spoken.  He merely hung about.  So hearing voices?  I clearly recall thinking…

 

“SCHIZOPHRENIA STARTS TO REAR ITS HEAD BETWEEN THE AGES OF 18 AND 25.  I’M 22.  I’M HEARING VOICES THAT NO ONE ELSE IS HEARING.  I’VE FINALLY CRACKED.  I MUST BE SCHIZOPHRENIC.  THAT MUST BE IT…SHIT.”

 

A few days after that is when all hell broke loose and it became abundantly clear that I was not losing my mind.  It also became abundantly clear that this house was haunted too…and our old dead roommate had followed us.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 
 

Ghostly Kisses & Otherworldly Chaos,
Alli Woods Frederick

 
 

IMAGES  ::  LOGO © ALLI WOODS FREDERICK  ::  .  – FREDERIC DESMOTS  ::  . – FREDERIC DESMOTS  ::  SING, SING. BLUE SILVER 1 – SYMBOLICINTERACTION  ::  – FREDERIC DESMOTS  ::  UNTITLED – OLIVIER BARDIN  ::

 

*NOT THEIR REAL NAMES.
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Since My Heart Has Been With Yours

 

Since My Heart Has Been With Yours

 
 

IT IS SO LONG SINCE MY HEART HAS BEEN WITH YOURS

-E.E. CUMMINGS

 

it is so long since my heart has been with yours

shut by our mingling arms through
a darkness where new lights begin and increase,
since your mind has walked into
my kiss as a stranger
into the streets and colours of a town –

that I have perhaps forgotten
how, always (from
these hurrying crudities
of blood and flesh)  Love
coins His most gradual gesture,

and whittles life to eternity

– after which our separating selves become museums
filled with skillfully stuffed memories.

– E.E. Cummings

 
 

Missed Kisses & Tangled Chaos,
Alli Woods Frederick

 
 

IMAGES  ::  THE RETURN OF THE LETTING GO (A SELF-PORTRAIT) © ALLI WOODS FREDERICK. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  ::

 

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